Create a hard-drive based OS X installer

macosxhints – Create a hard-drive based OS X installer

A recent post reminded me of a trick I’ve been using for the past year or so with great success, so I figured I’d share. Being a Mac specialist, I find myself having to do OS installs on a pretty regular basis. I carry around a couple of 2.5″ FireWire hard drives loaded with installers, diagnostics, and other goodies.

I wanted to be able to install the OS from one of my hard drives, like in the old days of OS 9, instead of having to boot the the machine from a CD or DVD. So here’s what I did:

I used Mike Bombich’s NetRestore Helper application (part of the NetRestore package) to create an Apple Software Restore (ASR) disk image of the Mac OS X install DVD. Then I applied that disk image to a partition on one of my hard drives, and voila! I had a clone of the install disc on my hard drive, which boots in seconds, and takes mere minutes to perform a system install (depending, obviously, on the speed of the machine you’re working on, and which options you’re installing).

Read on for a step-by-step walkthrough and some additional notes and thoughts.

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